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The name Melrose derives from the ancient Celto-British 'mail-rhos', the cropped moor or meadow. These Celts were working bronze in North Britain by 1500 BC. By about 900 BC the area was sufficiently populated and prosperous to build a ritual city of more than 400 large round-houses, within a great rampart and ditch some 1500 metres long encircling the summit of Hill North of the three magic Eildon Hills.
This city in the sky served their religious and social ceremonial needs, but they hunted and fished in the forest and wetlands of the valley bottom of the River Tweed, and grew corn, ran sheep and bred horses on the uplands around the mail-rhos.
Mystery surrounds the end of the city, for it was abandoned for many centuries during the Iron Age before the Romans came.
Melrose of the Pre-Roman Iron Age
Defensive homesteads and small forts on the edges and ridges of the hills surrounding River Tweed mark the presence of Iron Age Melrose. Only low mounds and shallow ditches now show their archaeological excavation, always ready to confound the pundits, may date their occupation to any or all of Bronze Age, Iron Age or Medieval times, for the edge of the hill has always been a good place to farm.
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